Sunday’s Set Points, French Open 2018 Day 1: Kuzmova’s 1st Slam MD win, Strycova snaps streak

The 2018 French Open is officially underway with Sunday the first day of main draw action. I’m on holiday for the next week in Portugal and am writing this from the balcony of our villa. I wish I could paint a glorious scene that I am drenched in sunshine. In fact, i’m shivering in a hoody. I think it’s actually warmer back home! Still, we are having a lovely time. I’ve managed to watch bits and bobs from the tennis and after a brief panic at being locked out of my Eurosport account, it’s all working now. The plan is to put up short posts each day which will at least allow you all to comment on the day’s action. Read on for seven stories in Sunday’s Set Points.

Kontaveit d. Brengle (RG, R1)

My first viewing experience of the 2018 French Open was the last two games of Anett Kontaveit’s 6-1 4-6 6-2 win over Madison Brengle. Kontaveit was unable to serve out the match, but broke to love for the win with an aggressive and clinical final game. Anett looked mightily relieved at the end. As some of you have noticed, i’ve picked Kontaveit to reach the semi-finals! We’ll see how that one goes. I really, really, really hope we get Kvitova-Kontaveit in the third round.

Ready for the craziness to start here @rolandgarros 🙋🏼‍♀️

A post shared by Anett Kontaveit (@anett_kontaveit) on

Strycova d. Nara (RG, R1)

Barbora Strycova snapped an eight match winning streak with a gutsy 1-6 6-3 6-4 win over Kurumi Nara. I was really pleased for Bara who looked super relieved at the end. The Czech player saved four break points in the decider, fighting through some tough service games including a *0-40 hole at *4-3. I was scared for Strycova serving at *5-4 for the match. I didn’t need to be as she served and volleyed at the end with success!

Cornet d. Errani (RG, R1)

I watched most of the third set and was hoping for a little bit more drama! Alizé Cornet came from a set and a break down to win, 2-6 6-2 6-3 in front of an excited home crowd. Errani threatened a comeback in the third set which Cornet slammed the door shut on with some potent returning and a pair of superb drop shots. Cornet had strapping on her leg but was the more energetic and intense player through the final two sets.

Putintseva d. Konta (RG, R1)

Ohhhh Jo. I was really hoping Konta would break her losing streak at Roland Garros but it was not be as Yulia Putintseva prevailed in straight sets, 6-4 6-3. Konta just couldn’t break down Putintseva who was so solid and got to everything. Konta put minimal pressure on Putintseva’s serve at the end of the match who dropped just two points behind it in the last four service games. Konta is killing it in press though and loved her response linked below.

Kuzmova d. Schiavone (RG, R1)

I was pleased to get to watch some of my match of the day featuring former champ, Francesca Schiavone against the 20-year-old, Viktoria Kuzmova. The Slovak player won her first ever main draw match at a Slam, 7-6(2) 7-6(2). Kuzmova is a real talent and i’m excited to see her progress on tour. I don’t think she’s far of a big breakthrough. Watch out for Kuzmova! Her groundstrokes are so pure and it was nice to see her throw in some drop shots (successful!) at the end. I enjoyed watching this one.

Upsets

The first day of the tournament saw two top ten seeds fall at the first hurdle…

Kateryna Kozlova defeated the number five seed and defending champion, Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets, 7-5 6-3. Kozlova is now a perfect three out of three against Ostapenko! I really didn’t see this result coming as Kozlova was riding a five match losing streak and had only ever won one main draw match at Slam. I thought Ostapenko would be on it. I was wrong.

Wang Qiang beat the number nine seed, Venus Williams in straight sets, 6-4 7-5. Again, I didn’t expect this as I questioned whether Wang Qiang could hold her nerve and concentration. I’m really happy for the Chinese player who has a nice game.

Jelena and Venus can both turn their attention to the grass…

My tennis experiences

Our villa has a tennis court which is such a novelty 😍. My bro and I are planning tennis every day if our bodies hold up. We played just a set today with the bro winning, 6-3. We played in the heat of the day and my footwork was non-existent at the end. We are going to try a best of three set match tomorrow morning! Let’s do this… 💪💪💪

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17 thoughts on “Sunday’s Set Points, French Open 2018 Day 1: Kuzmova’s 1st Slam MD win, Strycova snaps streak

  1. Do you think Kuzmova will challenge Elina Svitolina?

    What are your predictions, by the way? You mention you have Kontaveit to make the semis but I can’t see what the rest are?

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  2. I’m hoping Svitolina studies her draw now and sees the possibilities. With most of the upsets that occurred depleting the competition, she just has to hunker down and play her best. Confidence is key, and Kuzmova should feel positive, but Svitolina should come through.

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      • Buzarnescu is also a challenge on clay. She’s not far behind Kiki Bertens for wins on the dirt over the past few years (17-3 last year!). She’s already made two finals this year, where she pushed both Mertens and Kvitova to 3 sets. And sue almost made the final in Strasbourg last week.

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      • If the seeds fall away, could it be another ‘Ostapenko’ like run from one of these girls?!?
        To be honest, the bottom half of the draw always seemed ripe for the picking.

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  3. Did The Moo notice the near ‘air shake’ between Ostapenko and Kozlova at the end of their match?

    With the elimination of V Williams and Ostapenko, Azarenka took a big step forward without firing a shot……assuming she can get by Siniakova.

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    • The Moo did not notice this, what happened?!

      Yup that section of the draw has really opened up. I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion that Azarenka beats Siniakova but I would expect Vika to win.

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  4. Ostapenko —- barely a touch of the hands, as seen on YT highlights

    Azarenka could not get by Siniakova. The Sin looks like the queen of that section now.

    I almost lost my favorite Kvitova until a break of serve at 5-5 in the 3rd against #89 Cepede.

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    • The first four rounds are key for Kvitovas chances. If she can survive and not lose too much energy or pick up an injury, she will be tough to beat.

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  5. I’m still coming to terms with Ostapenko losing. I have been lying down in a darkened room, listening to soothing music, but nothing seems to take away the disappointment. Maybe give it a week or two.

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    • I must admit I’ve warmed to “Oyster Pancake” as time has gone on. I used to dislike what I saw as her brattishness on court but latterly I’ve realised the truth of what Simona said about her in her runners-up speech last year, “you are like a kid.”

      Her going for every shot flat out and without fear is of a piece with everything showing in her face, racket slams etc. when things aren’t going well. It’s rarely boring when she’s on court.

      Maybe the tour needs one player like her; she certainly seems to have picked up a lot of fans in the past year since she won RG. I hope it’s not her last title (apart from Seoul)..

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      • In other news; Heather Watson beat Oceane Dodin 6-3, 6-0. Good win for Heather but wow, I wasn’t expecting that scoreline! Good to see Andrea Petkovic pick up yet another win against Kiki Mladenovic too.

        Likewise Carla S-N’s 6-1, 6-0 demolition of an apparently match unfit Ana Konjuh. I’d like to see Carla go really deep into this tournament; she made the final in Rome once (2015 I believe) so there’s no reason why she can’t.

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      • One of the matches i’m intrigued about for Wednesday is Carla vs. Maria Sakkari. The winner could then play Kasatkina or Flipkens. A nice little section of the draw there.

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      • Yeah, I haven’t gotten there I’m afraid. Being bratty is one thing, I have forgiven players in the past for it (Wozniacki, Azarenka) but the things she’s said at times (the Aga incident was mentioned on here again recently) go way beyond bratty behaviour. I feel like she’s a nasty person on the inside.

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      • I’ve definitely seen a more mature side to Ostapenko on court this year. She’s generally been much warmer in post-match handshakes, win or lose. I didn’t like the stuff she said in that Aga incident but i’d cut her some slack with her age.

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